I finally got tired of fighting every little last breeze outside with the RC Helicopter, so I took the advice of the guys in the shop and decided to only fly it indoors. In the garage, that is.
Of course, the air is very still inside, so it's a lot easier to control. I mean, wow, what a difference! I've been practicing flying from the workbench surface to a large cardboard box on the other side of the garage, to another smaller box that's propped up on end.
I'd like to say that my skills are improving, but it's hard to tell. The helicopter is pretty touchy, and it probably has to do with all the beating it took when I was flying outside for the last couple of months.
One of the issues I have is that it has great vertical power when the battery's fresh, but it poops out quick, then doesn't want to gain much altitude at all. And once in a while, it seems to "kick in" and then take off vertically. That doesn't happen too often, but enough times to notice it.
In any event, it's been a lot more fun just doing the take off and landing practicing inside!
Still deciding on if and when to get the simulator. I'm certain it will be a time suck.
Not sure I mentioned, no, I'm sure I haven't mentioned (because I haven't posted in far too long!) the fact that I picked up a cheap radio controlled helicopter over the summer. Maybe that's one of the reasons I haven't been posting, all my time's been consumed by this new "hobby", time suck.
It's been a lot of fun, I have to admit. It's a RTF (ready to fly) model, one that only requires you to charge the battery fully before taking off to the wild blue yonder.
People that I spoke to have been correct, I must say. It takes a lot of practice to actually be able to control the thing. I've been getting better over the last couple of months with no real fatal wrecks (though wrecks are frequent, even now). But I have had to replace a bunch of parts that got damaged, such as the rotor blades several times, the tail skid, and the gears that drive the rotors. I also lost a small plastic part that holds the support tubes. I was also experiencing a problem with the copter not being able to leave the ground more than a couple of inches, and the battery seemed to charge very quickly. I figured that the battery wasn't really holding a charge anymore, so I got a new one (for ten bucks). Problem went away for one flight, then returned, same as before. Turned out it was the gears that drive the rotor shafts were getting stripped on one side, or about 180 of the 360 degrees. I guess that happens with plastic gears being driven by metal.
At some point, I plan to get a flight simulator, either Real Flight or Phoenix. I'm leaning toward the former upon the advice of our orthodontist, who's been into RC Helicopters since the 1980s and who has used both sims.